Indian travellers have turned deeply cautious about their travel plans due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Close to 50% say that they will not consider travelling till a vaccine is made available, according to a travel survey conducted by Bragpacker.com, an online travel gear store. The poll also found that international trips especially, seem to be strongly out of consideration right now with over 75% of Indian travellers saying the they will not consider going for an international holiday after lockdown is lifted. It is not all bad news though, as a majority of those polled said they would be keen to consider travelling within the country, especially for weekend getaways and road trips, as things improve on the ground.
The Bragpacker.com Traveller Sentiment Survey polled frequent flyers across metros to gauge the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on travel sentiment and behaviour. The poll questioned people about when and where travellers would prefer to go, what risks they perceive in travelling and the practical issues that they may face.
Manan Shah, Founder, Bragpacker.com says “The key finding of the Bragpacker.com Traveller Sentiment Survey is that travel industry is going local. Domestic destinations and domestic tourists will drive the Indian travel industry for the foreseeable future. The first trip most people will likely take post lockdown, will be a short weekend getaway with friends or family to destinations within drivable distance from their homes. The survey makes it apparent that transactions will move even more online and travellers will seek flexibility in their itineraries and demand greater value from all service providers as travel budgets will reduce. It will be a tough market but Indians continue to be more open to travel than their global peers, even now. Hopefully, the results of the survey will help travel-related businesses, plan their strategies for the post lockdown period.”
When will Indians travel again?
48% of those polled by Bragpacker.com said they will wait for a vaccine before they embark on major personal travel plans. Another 42% said that they would be willing to travel once new virus infections subside. 7% said they would be keen to take a personal trip as soon as possible, once the lockdown is lifted and travel is allowed by the government. Interestingly, the aversion to travel without the safety of a vaccine was only slightly less in the younger people i.e. under 30 years of age at 43%.
Indians inclined to taking baby steps when it comes to taking a trip post lockdown
While international trips seem to be a complete no-no, Indians are not closed to considering domestic trips. Weekend getaways and road trips may be the way Indians will first venture out, post lockdown.
When asked specifically about their likelihood of undertaking various kinds of trips post lockdown, in the Bragpacker.com survey, 73% said that they would not consider travelling internationally, with only 9% saying they would be willing to do so. Interestingly, 4 times as many people or 36%, responded favourably to travel domestically and an additional 16% were unsure but not totally averse to the idea.
Importantly, over 60% people said that they would plan weekend getaways in 2020 once the lockdown is lifted with another 22% being unsure but not averse to such trips. Similarly, 56% were positive about road/bike trips post the lockdown. Trekking and camping generated mixed reactions with 36% being in favour of planning such trips but 30% being unsure.
International flights are out of the aircraft window for 6 in 10 Indians this year
When polled about various behaviours pertaining to travel, 63% people agreed with the statement that taking International trips is extremely risky at this time. 46% felt that 4-5 star hotels are safer than BnBs and hostels in the current environment as opposed to 20% who disagreed. Over 70% agreed that taking travel insurance for a trip has become more important now than before. 55% also agreed that flexi airfares are the way to go, even if more expensive. A majority of respondents (53%) also agreed that outdoorsy trips are safer than urban tourist centres for now.
Fear of crowds is the main concern clouding people’s travel plans
57% of people polled in the Bragpacker.com survey said that their main concern about travelling is crowds they will encounter in transit and at the destinations. Another 17% said they are most afraid of the disruptions due to quarantines, cancellations etc if they travel. Getting leave from work was the number one concern for 14% of people polled while planning their travel.
70% Indians say their travel budget will shrink post lockdown.
Over 70% of people polled said that their budget for travelling will reduce due to the pandemic. That ties in the fact that over 60% polled expressed deep concern about the impact of the pandemic on their financial health. However, 8% said they are likely to spend more for their next trip after the lockdown experience, while 21% said there will be no impact on their travel budget due to the pandemic.
Post lockdown, 65% say they may not get leave to travel for months
Getting leave from work for the next few months may prove to be a major bottleneck for travel plans in 2020, with over 65% of those polled saying that they do not expect to get leave from work for the next 3-4 months. Within this group, 28% felt that they will not be able to get leave at all in 2020. Only 9% of those polled said they could get leave immediately after the lockdown.
People will move even more online when it comes to using travel services
Pre Covid-19 online channels were already the dominant form of delivering service in the travel sector. Post Covid-19, online channels are expected to receive a further boost, with many people who were using offline options, preferring to move online to plan, book and shop for travel, as per the Bragpacker.com survey. The survey finds that on an average 50% were already using online channels for various travel services. Amongst the people who were using offline travel service providers before, on average a whopping 76% said they will move online for their travel needs henceforth. Flight bookings and travel planning were services with the most offline to online conversions at 89% and 78%, respectively. Similarly, other travel services such as Visas, forex, insurance etc are also likely to convert people to online channels with 77% saying they would move their purchases online. Pre-travel shopping will see the least shift (relatively speaking) towards online modes but even there, 62% of those who were offline said that they will move online for their pre travel purchases.
About the Survey:
The Bragpacker.com Traveller Sentiment Survey was conducted between 20th April to 5th May, 2020 and over a 1000 people across Indian 7 Indian metros over phone and online forms to collate the above information. A wide demographic of people was covered with representation from all age groups between 15 to 75 years.
Bragpacker.com is an online travel gear store that is pioneered to implementation of the rental model to a full range of travel gear. It provides over 350 travel products – everything from cameras, lenses, GoPros, luggage, trekking and camping gear on a rental basis at less than 1% of their cost per day. It has opened travel gear stores in Mumbai and Pune.